President Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office May 28
JERUSALEM – Activists here have launched a campaign using Barack Obama’s name to construct Jewish housing projects on West Bank hilltops in defiance of the U.S. president’s demands for a halt to all Jewish building in the strategic territory.
“Mr. President, your policy that aims to destroy the Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem will no longer go unchallenged,” states a press release from the Obama Hilltop Project. “We aim to rally the worldwide pro-Israel community to support the rebirth of these communities and counter your unjust, illegal policies.”
The goal is to increase the Jewish presence in the West Bank, beginning with the re-establishment of the town of Homesh, which was one of four Jewish communities evacuated by Israel during the country’s 2005 retreat from the Gaza Strip.
Critics pointed out the West Bank evacuations served no practical purpose other than to send a signal to West Bank Jews they might be next on the chopping block. Homesh was not taken over by the Palestinians, and the Israeli army continued to operate there. Indeed, the Israeli court system recently has ruled Jews can still be present in Homesh, leading to the establishment there of a Torah center.
Now activists are looking for donations of any amount to help them expand Homesh, including a new hilltop community to be named after Obama.
Those making online donations are being encouraged to also send a formal letter to Obama making the White House aware of the effort to support Jewish growth in the West Bank.
The letter states: “Mr. President, your current foreign policy contradicts the most sacred values of the Jewish Nation. It is written in our holy Torah, ‘The Lord your God will bring you into the land that your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.” (Deuteronomy, 26:3-5). Good people throughout the world will continue to support Jewish building and growth in all parts of our sacred land of Israel.”
The effort is being supported by multiple organizations, including Shalom International, the Jewish community of Hebron and the Homesh First Movement.
“We are aware of the fact that Obama is very interested in the issue of our presence in Judea and Samaria. So we will call a hilltop there in the name of Obama in his honor,” David Ha’Ivri, a spokesman for the West Bank’s regional Jewish council, told WND.
The Obama administration recently demanded Israel halt all settlement activity, including natural growth, in apparent abrogation of a deal made by President Bush to allow for natural growth.
The deal was forged just prior to Israel’s 2005 retreat from the Gaza Strip. It was confirmed by Sharon aide Dov Weissglas in 2005 and in a Wall Street Journal column last week by Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser to Bush who reportedly negotiated the arrangement. The deal was in line with an official letter from Bush the year before stating Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the entire West Bank and that the Jewish state would retain major settlement blocs there.
The West Bank borders major Israeli cities and is within rocket-firing range of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s international airport.
Military strategists long have estimated Israel must maintain the West Bank to defend itself from any ground invasion. Terrorist groups have warned if Israel withdraws, they will launch rockets from the West Bank into Israeli cities.
Many villages in the West Bank, which Israelis commonly refer to as the “biblical heartland,” are mentioned throughout the Torah.
The book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at Shechem (Nablus) and received God’s promise of land for his offspring. He later was buried in Hebron.
The nearby town of Beit El, anciently called Bethel, meaning “house of God,” is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In that dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory.
And in Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested in Shiloh, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.